Relaxed fuel standards could jeopardize Arizona’s air quality; ‘huge issue in Phoenix area,’ says Court Rich, Rose Law Group partner and director of Renewable Energy Department

High pollution levels in Phoenix / Photo: Fox 10

The state is opposing the Trump administration’s proposed changes over ozone pollution concerns

By Zack Colman, E&E News | Scientific American

The Trump administration’s plan to roll back federal car standards promises to be a major fight with California and other liberal states. But it’s also opposed by at least one state that voted for President Trump.

Arizona wants to maintain the aggressive standards established under former President Obama to avoid future regulations on air pollution, said Timothy Franquist, air quality director for the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ). His office opposes Trump’s plan to freeze the standards at 2020 levels.

“We are going to talk the language of both aisles that this is bad for the health, bad for the economy,” Franquist said of the president’s plan.

The vehicle emissions standards focus on greenhouse gases, but they’re also linked to ozone. That’s significant for Arizona because the air quality around Phoenix could violate EPA ozone standards set in 2008. Running afoul of those caps, known as being in “nonattainment,” comes with penalties, like losing federal funding for roads, requiring new industrial facilities to add advanced pollution control technology and more cumbersome permitting requirements.


“Air quality is a huge issue in the Phoenix area where we have some of the dirtiest air in the country. The EPA’s fuel standards were going to help reduce the number of non-attainment days in the Valley and were the cornerstone of Arizona’s strategy to escape harsh federal penalties for poor air quality. As a result of this serious change in direction, Arizona should immediately focus on implementing policies to help hasten electric vehicle adoption so we can get more clean cars on the road quickly to avoid steep federal pollution fines.”

~Court Rich